Leave Loui Eriksson On The Third Line


Sep 26, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21) skates with the puck against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins got their season started on a positive note with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers last night and it shouldn’t be a surprise as to what names showed on the score sheet. Coming off of last season, there was no question the line the third line looked the best as we watched the chemistry between Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg blossom. Fast forward to last night and throw in a healthy Chris Kelly, and once again the third line looked in top form with members contributing to both goals.

Prior to the injury to David Krejci, the plan for Eriksson was to start on the top line to supplant the offense lost after losing Jarome Iginla. Throughout the preseason, there was nothing that stood out to make us believe Eriksson would slide into that top line spot and truly be successful. However, Krejci’s injury opened the door for Eriksson to play with his fellow Swedish mate once again.

Look, everyone knows the Bruins are mixing in a lot of new faces entering this season, however if this team is truly committed to maintaining their ability to put the best four lines out on a consistent basis then they would be better served to keep Eriksson on the third line and allow another winger like Matt Fraser get an opportunity on the top line.

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One of the things that have allowed the Bruins to be successful over the Claude Julien era is their ability to take advantage of another team’s lack of depth; specifically their bottom two lines. Keeping Loui Eriksson on the “Swedish” line maintains that vision and philosophy the Bruins have endorsed for years.

In a time where the team is faced with a lot of questions, Julien would be better served to stick with what’s familiar in his 2nd and 3rd lines to ensure there’s some level of consistency in the meat of the lineup. Throw in the fact that there is a healthy Chris Kelly and the third line that was clicking so well entering last year’s playoffs should continue to produce for the team.

“I really don’t like playing with Carl, and if [Patrice] Bergeron needs a winger I’ll play with him,” Kelly said with a smile.”Obviously, I like playing with the Swedes, even though half the time I don’t understand them on the bench”

Claude Julien is seen as a stubborn coach at times; especially when it comes to his reluctancy to mix lines in the middle of the season. If the Bruins third line continues to have a hot start, he might have no choice but to keep them together upon the return of David Krejci. Only time will tell.